Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

DROLL INCIDENT.

[ocr errors]

In a French comic opera of one act, entitled “L'Abondance," one character in the piece personified Virtue. The first appearance of it being deferred, and the manager being requested to say how that happened, he replied, “ Mademoiselle Rosette, who is to play the part of Virtue, has just been brought to bed, and we are obliged to wait for her recovery." The answer becoming public, the part was necessarily suppressed.

[ocr errors][merged small]

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DEATH OF

DRURY," IN 1741.

“On Saturday night, of a gradual decline, and in the 117th year of her age, died “Old Madam Drury," who existed through six reigns, and saw many generations pass in review before her. She remembered Betterton in his declining age; lived in intimacy with Wilkes, Booth, and Cibber; and knew old Macklin when he was stripling. Her hospitality exceeded that of the English character, even in the early days of festivity, having, almost through the whole of her life, entertained from one to two thousand persons of both sexes, six nights out of the seven in the

a

[ocr errors]

week. She was an excellent poetess, could be grave and gay by turns, and yet, sometimes, (catching the disorder from intrusive guests,) could be dull enough in all conscience. Her memory was most excellent, and her singing kept on such a gradual state of improvement, that it was allowed her voice was better the three or four last years of her life, than when she was in her prime, at the latter end of the last century. She had a rout of near two thousand people at her house the very night of her death; and the old lady found herself in such high spirits, that she said she would give them “ No Supper” without a “ Song;" which being complied with, she fell gently back in her chair, and expired with out a groan. Dr. Palmer (one of the Family Physicians) attended her in her last moments, and announced her dissolution to the company."

EPILOGUE TO TYRANNIC LOVE," Spoken by Nell Gwynn, when she was to be carried off dead

by the bearers, 1672.

BY DRYDEN.

To the Bearer. HOLD! are you mad, you d-d confounded dog? I am to rise, and speak the epilogue.

To the Audience. I come, kind gentlemen, strange news to tell ye; I am the ghost of poor departed Nelly. Sweet ladies, be not frighten'd,—I'll be civil; I'm what I was—a little harmless devil ; For, after death, we squires have just such natures We had, for all the world, when human creatures : And therefore I, that was an actress here, Play all my tricks in hell, a goblin there. Gallants, look to it; you say, there are no sprites ; But I'll come dance about your beds at nights ; And, 'faith, you'll be in a sweet kind of taking, When I surprise you between sleep and waking : To tell you true, I walk because I die Out of my calling, in a tragedy. O poet, d-d dull poet, who could prove So senseless, to make Nelly die for love; Nay, what's yet worse, to kill me in my prime, Of Easter-term, in tart and cheese-cake time! I'll fit the fop; for I'll not one word say, T'excuse his godly out-of-fashion play ; A play, which, if you dare but twice sit out, You'll all be slander'd, and be thought devout. But farewell, gentlemen! make haste to me; I'm sure, 'ere long, to have your company.

As for my epitaph, when I am gone,
I'll trust no poet, but will write my own:
“Here Nelly lies, who, though she liv'd a slattern,
Yet died a princess, acting in St. Cath'rine.”

CHARACTERS IN THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES.

As these profane spectacles were, for the most part, founded on the characters and events of Sacred Writ, or on the superstitions with which the fair form of religion was defaced, the introduction upon the stage of the most holy as well as of the most unholy personifications, followed as a matter of course. On the personification of the Deity, and of each of the Personages of the Trinity, in particular, and on the representation of the Incarnation, the Passion, the Resurrection, and Ascension, it would be needless to offer any comment; neither is the appearance on the stage of Adam and Eve, naked and not ashamed, a very tempting subject for criticism. The Devil, a personage with whose character our ancestors thought proper to make very free, was a particular favourite with the audience; he was usually represented with horns, a very wide mouth, large eyes and nose, a flame-coloured beard, a

cloven foot, and a tail. The Vice, his uniform attendant; was also in high favour, and never failed to call forth roars of laughter, by the practical jokes which he inflicted upon the poor Devil, who was, on all occasions, the scape-goat of the piece. His wit consisted in jumping on the Devil's back, and in the buffoonery of chastising him with a wooden sword, till his satanic Majesty bellowed lustily under the infliction, to the no small amusement of the spectators. Of the treatment which sacred subjects underwent, in their metamorphosis into Mys. teries, the following portion of a dialogue, between Noah and his wife, affords a tolerable specimen.

“Welcome, wife, into this boat,” exclaims the affectionate husband, as he politely hands his lady into the ark. “ Take thou that for thy note,” retorts the amiable mother of the postdiluvian world, suiting the action to the word, and accompanying the latter by a dutiful box on the ear. Wretched and impious as these productions appear to us, at the present day, they were then deemed serviceable to the cause of religion.. Festivals and Saints' days were selected for their

« НазадПродовжити »